Contra Costa NOW Media Club

Contra Costa NOW is pleased to announce our latest event series,
Contra Costa NOW´s MEDIA CLUB.  We are scheduling quarterly virtual events on ZOOM to discuss a movie, TV series, or book with a feminist theme

We Invite You to Join our First Event

Date:  Friday, June 12, 2020
Time:  7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Via Zoom 

Movie:  Award-winning 2018 Documentary RBG.

Co-directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West have created an intimate portrait of an unlikely rock star: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  With unprecedented access, the filmmakers explore how her early legal battles changed the world for women.

The film won the MTV Movie & TV Award for Best Real-Life Heroine, and was a nominee for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, as well as numerous other awards.

According to New York Times film critic A.O: Scott, the film is “a loving and informative documentary portrait  … a story both typical and exceptional.  Justice Ginsburg´s career was
marked by intense intellectual ambition and by a determination to use the law as an instrument of change.”

The movie is available for free to Hulu subscribers, and can be rented for $.99 on YouTube, GooglePlay, and Amazon Prime.

Be sure to finish watching the movie before our event on June 12th.

So we can get an idea of how many will be joining us, please RSVP by emailing us at  In the “Subject” field state Media Club, then in the body, please give your name.

Zoom Link/Info below:

Topic: Media Club
Time: Jun 12, 2020 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 816 5365 7204
Password: 622754
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NOW PAC Announces First Slate of 2020 Endorsements

April 23, 2020




WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Organization for Women Political Action Committee (NOW PAC) has announced its largest slate of endorsements at this stage of the election cycle, in preparation for its biggest financial investment in the organization’s history.

NOW PAC released its initial slate of endorsements, announcing support for 136 feminist candidates in 30 states to flip the Senate and keep the House. It includes seven Senate candidates hoping to join the Senate and nine Senate incumbents, as well as 23 House candidates looking to unseat incumbents or win an open seat, plus 99 House incumbents.

The political arm of NOW — funded entirely by NOW members — will focus its efforts on funding and mobilizing its grassroots members for Senate candidates in states that can flip the Senate to a pro-woman majority.

“It doesn’t matter who is in the White House if we don’t take the gavel from Senator Mitch McConnell and give it to someone who supports women,” said NOW PAC Chairwoman Toni Van Pelt. “For too long, an anti-women majority in the Senate has attacked our reproductive rights, our economic security, our safety and our dignity in this country.”

NOW PAC also highlights its “rebound candidates,” who are candidates that ran in 2018 and lost, but are back in 2020. We’ve already seen early success of these candidates in their second time around, such as Marie Newman (IL-03) who toppled an anti-choice Democratic incumbent in the Illinois primary.

Women voters and NOW members have always been a critical volunteer base to talk to women voters about the feminist issues at stake in elections from the bottom of the ballot to the top. The 2020 election results will depend on the turnout of women of all demographics and backgrounds.

Additionally, 80 percent of the NOW PAC endorsed candidates who are challenging an incumbent or vying for an open seat are women candidates.

Van Pelt said that the organization will soon launch its largest-ever digital organizing program to recruit members to volunteer for key target races, with a plan to unveil an Adopt a Senate Campaign program in the summer. This program was planned prior to COVID-19, but it creates a natural response to current physical distancing.

“NOW members have been mobilizing for candidates for years — or in many cases, decades — knocking doors and volunteering in campaign offices,” Van Pelt said. “In this new reality, we are prepared to shift our efforts into all of the remote opportunities available to reach voters and make a huge impact in November.”

The global pandemic has shown just how much the world relies on women’s labor in the workforce as health care workers, domestic workers, educators and service workers. It also has shown how much unpaid labor women provide as primary parents and as caretakers of family members.

As a result, COVID-19 has laid the case for NOW’s priority legislation and electing feminists who will pass them – such as raising the minimum wage for all workers, removing the artificial timeline on the Equal Rights Amendment, equal pay, paid sick leave, paid family leave, federal abortion protections and universal health care.

“We ask about these issues in our candidate interviews, so we know our endorsed slate will be a part of the new majority in Congress that will finally pass these priorities and build a safe, equal, and dignified United States for everyone in it,” Van Pelt said.

Senate Candidates to Flip the Senate
Teresa Tomlinson (Georgia)
Kimberly Graham (Iowa)
Sara Gideon (Maine)
Steve Bullock (Montana)
Abby Broyles (Oklahoma)
Jaime Harrison (South Carolina)

Open Seat
Rep. Ben Ray Luján (New Mexico)

Senate Incumbents
Senator Doug Jones (Alabama)
Senator Dick Durbin (Illinois)
Senator Gary Peters (Michigan)
Senator Tina Smith (Minnesota)
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (New Hampshire)
Senator Cory Booker (New Jersey)
Senator Jeff Merkley (Oregon)
Senator Jack Reed (Rhode Island)
Senator Mark Warner (Virginia)

House Challengers
Celeste Williams (AR-03)
Chris Bubser (CA-08)
Esmeralda Soria (CA-16)
Liam O’Mara (CA-42)
Diane Mitsch Bush (CO-03)*
Marie Newman (IL-03)*
Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (IL-13)*
Dani Brzozowski (IL-16)
Kara Eastman (NE-02)*
Nancy Goroff (NY-01)
Melanie D’Arrigo (NY-03)
Tedra Cobb (NY-21)*
Tracy Mitrano (NY-23)
Dana Balter (NY-24)*
Nate McMurray (NY-27)*
Vangie Williams (VA-01)*
Carolyn Long (WA-03)*

Open Seats
Christy Smith (CA-25)
Ammar Campa-Najjar (CA-50)*
Kathleen Williams (MT-AL)*
Kathy Manning (NC-06)
Jackie Gordon (NY-02)
Melissa Mark-Viverito (NY-15)

*Denotes a “rebound candidate”

House Incumbents
Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02)
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03)
Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07)
Rep. John Garamendi (CA-03)
Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05)
Rep. Doris Matsui (CA-06)
Rep. Jerry McNerny (CA-09)
Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11)
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA-12)
Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13)
Rep. Jackie Speier (CA-14)
Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-18)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26)
Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27)
Rep. Adam Schiff (CA-28)
Rep. Grace Napolitano (CA-32)
Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Rep. Karen Bass (CA-37)
Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA-38)
Rep. Gil Cisneros (CA-39)
Rep Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40)
Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-43)
Rep. Katie Porter (CA-45)
Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)
Rep. Mike Levin (CA-49)
Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52)
Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL)
Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-07)
Rep. Darren Soto (FL-09)
Rep. Val Demings (FL-10)
Rep. Lois Frankel (FL-21)
Rep. Ted Deutch (FL-22)
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23)
Rep. Frederica Wilson (FL-24)
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (FL-26)
Rep. Donna Shalala (FL-27)
Rep. Lucy McBath (GA-06)
Rep. Abby Finkenauer (IA-01)
Rep. Bobby Rush (IL-01)
Rep. Robin Kelly (IL-02)
Rep. Jesús “Chuy” Garcia (IL-04)
Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-05)
Rep. Sean Casten (IL-06)
Rep. Danny Davis (IL-07)
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-09)
Rep. Brad Schneider (IL-10)
Rep. Bill Foster (IL-11)
Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14)
Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-03)
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (MA-07)
Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08)
Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13)
Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02)
Rep. Dean Phillips (MN-03)
Rep. Betty McCollum (MN-04)
Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05)
Rep. David Price (NC-04)
Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12)
Rep. Andy Kim (NJ-03)
Rep. Tom Malinowski (NJ-07)
Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11)
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-01)
Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (NM-02)
Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01)
Rep. Susie Lee (NV-03)
Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04)
Rep. Kathleen Rice (NY-04)
Rep. Nydia Velázquez (NY-07)
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08)
Rep. Jerry Nadler (NY-10)
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-12)
Rep. Eliot Engel (NY-16)
Rep. Antonio Delgado (NY-19)
Rep. Anthony Brindisi (NY-22)
Rep. Kendra Horn (OK-05)
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01)
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (OR-03)
Rep. Madeline Dean (PA-04)
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05)
Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06)
Rep. Susan Wild (PA-07)
Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01)
Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07)
Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX-16)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18)
Rep. Sylvia Garcia (TX-29)
Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-02)
Rep. Bobby Scott (VA-03)
Rep. Don McEachin (VA-04)
Rep. Abigail Spanberger (VA-07)
Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08)
Rep. Jennifer Wexton (VA-10)
Rep. Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
Rep. Gwen Moore (WI-04)

See all federal endorsements at


Since 1977, the National Organization for Women Political Action Committee (NOW PAC) has worked to elect more uncompromising feminists to the White House and Congress. NOW PAC’s aggressive grassroots organizing and early support for feminist candidates have been changing the faces of those elected to federal office

NOW PAC only raises money from NOW members, so our political work is 100% grassroots.

California NOW Voter Guide

Class of 2020 Federal and State Endorsements

Click the link below for a list of Candidate Endorsements

Class of 2020 Endorsements

Honoring African American Feminists Throughout History

Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt and Vice President Christian F. Nunes

WASHINGTON, D.C.–Each February, the National Organization for Women commemorates Black History Month to honor the lives of African Americans who have shaped our nation and its culture. Our country and our communities would not be the same without the efforts of people of color, who work tirelessly in the face of oppression.African American women have been fierce advocates for gender equality for centuries, from suffragists Anna Julia Cooper and the founders of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority to civil rights leaders Ida B. Wells and Sojourner Truth. In more recent years we’ve witnessed history as Nevada State Senator Pat Spearman kicked off the modern Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) movement and Virginia Delegates Jennifer D. Carroll Foy and Hala Ayala championed the ERA in Virginia, which just became the historic 38th state to ratify.

Thanks to these women and many others, progress has been made, but we must never underestimate the insidious racism that continues to plague our country in the form of discrimination in employment, health care, housing, the justice system and voting rights. That is why NOW is co-hosting our Racial Justice Summit with U.S. Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) on Feb.10th, which aims to create conversation about the intersection of gender, health, economics, violence and race.

Black History Month highlights the importance of intersectional feminism. Black lesbian civil rights activist and feminist Audre Lorde famously said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are different from my own.” As firm believers of this approach to advocacy, NOW is committed to breaking down the barriers to gender and racial equality that have restricted women of color for centuries.

Contra Costa NOW Members at the Women’s March 2020

Contra Costa NOW members at the Women’s March 2020

Contra Costa NOW 2020 Board Members

Below is a list of our 2020 board members:

President: Jeanette Cole
Vice President: Erika Maslan
Vice President – Membership: Nancy Bocanegra
Vice President – Action, Karen Severud
Treasurer: Kathy DeFabio
State Board Rep: Jeanette Cole
Event Chairs: Phyllis Bratt & Lauren Babb
Board Adviser: Katia Senff


College Campus Safety Tool Kit

Statistically, women are at an elevated risk of sexual violence from ages 18-24. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience forms of rape or sexual assault. Sadly, we also know that women also face an increased risk of sexual assault on a college campus.


As a part of NOW’s commitment to eradicating all violence against women, Contra Costa NOW is providing 7 Point Safety Tool Kit for female college students. 

The following is a detailed guide on how to stay safe on campus: 


  • Add the number for local campus police to your cell phone contacts. Make it one of your “favorites” or program it into speed dial for easy access.
  • Exchange daily class schedule and important phone numbers with your roommates in case of emergency.
  • Always travel with someone else, especially in deserted, not well-lit parts of the campus at night. Look into your college’s campus night shuttle, if provided.
  • Stay alert when walking around campus when going places alone, like to class or the dorms. Only keep one headphone in and take notice of the “blue light” campus emergency phones if necessary.
  • To avoid cases of drug-facilitated sexual assault, guard your drink and party smart. Do not accept drinks from strangers or prepare them yourself.
  • Make sure to charge your phone before going out and keep a portable charger handy in case you need to make an emergency call.
  • If you find yourself in an unsafe situation and need to protect yourself, carry a small container of pepper spray on your keychain. Be sure to check your state’s legal guidelines before buying one. Carrying a personal alarm on your keychain is also a helpful precaution to take. 
  • If you happen to become a victim of sexual assault, call 911, campus police, family, a trusted friend, or the national sexual assault hotline (1-800-656-HOPE) for help and assistance. The hotline can also provide a list of hospitals so you can seek medical attention.

Download our Stay Safe on Campus Tool Kit.

Contra Costa NOW Members at the National Conference

Jeanette and Erika attend the NOW National Conference

Abortion Bans Don’t Work. Here’s Why.

By Anahita Ghajarrahimi

Abortion bans do not prevent the one thing they are supposed to: abortion. Instead, they restrict women from making decisions about their health. By banning abortion, women lose legal access to safe and effective abortions, which in turn threatens their health – the opposite of protecting life.

Contra Costa NOW believes that restricting access to abortion threatens women’s self-autonomy and ability to make decisions about their own bodies. State-level restrictions on abortion disproportionately affect groups like low income women and women of color; the intersections of oppression in these demographic groups build on one another, making access to legal and safe abortions much more difficult (3). 

Brief historical background of Abortion Rights

Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that declared abortion as constitutional right, affirmed that women have the right to privacy and that the state cannot interfere with a decision between a doctor and woman (2). However, through the 1992 Supreme Court decision on Planned Parenthood v. Casey, states could restrict and define how much of access women have to abortion, as long as there is no “undue burden” on the woman; the effects of this decision are increasingly seen today.


Current situation in state-level legislative policy on abortion

Most states allow abortions until 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy, but recently several states have passed early abortion bans that vary in their limitations on when a woman can get an abortion (1). The most extreme case is Alabama; abortion is only allowed if the woman’s health is at risk, with no exception for rape or incest. Other cases include Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Georgia, who recently passed laws that ban abortion after 6-8 weeks, and Utah and Arkansas, banning abortion after 18 weeks. Contra Costa NOW deeply condemns these states who have severely restricted women’s access to safe and legal abortions. 


Communities of color are more at risk

Race and socioeconomic status disproportionately affect women’s ability to get an abortion because abortion access stems from greater access to healthcare. Women of color and low income women are among demographic groups that are under significant attack from restrictions on abortion; the Hyde Amendment of 1976 bans those who receive federally-funded health insurance, including Indian Health Services and Medicaid, from using their benefits for abortion costs – only cases of direct risk to women’s health and pregnancy due to rape and incest are allowed. The Hyde Amendment also unfairly affects women of color because of the systematic links between income inequality, racism, and sexism; for instance, 30% of Black women and 24% of Hispanic women are enrolled in Medicaid as opposed to 14% of white women (4). Thus, women of color, who are more enrolled in Medicaid than white women, face greater challenges in obtaining access to abortions. The current early abortion bans only increase the difficulty for these communities because the greater time restraints on when a women can legally get an abortion build on already-existing challenges of healthcare access (6).


What can we do to help? 

In California, women have the choice to obtain an abortion up until fetal viability (usually 24 weeks), and post-viability abortions are still performed if the mother’s health, life, or overall well-being is at risk (5). However, other states do not offer the same reproductive rights. Speaking out against bans and uplifting those sharing their stories with abortion helps remove the stigma around the procedure. Donating directly to local, grassroots organizations is a monetary way to help out these states affected by the ban.

  1. The Yellowhammer Fund – Alabama
  2. SisterSong – Georgia
  3. Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund – Mississippi
  4. Gateway Women’s Access Fund – Missouri
  5. Preterm – Ohio
  6. Access Reproductive Care – Southeast


Planned Parenthood has begun the #BansOffMyBody campaign in order to gather support across the country to fight back against the recent bans. They plan on attacking these bans both in the courts and the streets. Planned Parenthood Northern California’s Director of Public Affairs, Lauren Babb, states that the organization “will always be there for our patients. We will fight to ensure that patients – and everyone in this country – can still access health care, no matter what.”


Contra Costa NOW champions those voicing their support for access to safe and legal abortions, especially for community members who face more challenges gaining healthcare access due to racial or socioeconomic status. Here are more ways to fight back against the abortion bans: 

  1. Go to to call your U.S. representative and ask them to co-sponsor a resolution in support of protecting access to reproductive health care. 
  2. Donate to The National Organization for Women to help us in the fight for greater reproductive justice.
  3. Take action via one of our mobilization campaigns here



Gordon, Mara, and Alyson Hurt. “Early Abortion Bans: Which States Have Passed Them?” NPR, NPR, 5 June 2019,

“History of Abortion.” National Abortion Federation,

“Mobilize for Reproductive Justice.” National Organization for Women,

“Hyde Amendment.” Planned Parenthood Action Fund,

Rodriguez, Ambrosio. “Understanding Abortion Laws in California.” The Rodriguez Law Group, 4 June 2018,

“The Hyde Amendment.” National Network of Abortion Funds, 13 Jan. 2017,

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